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|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season|
Dec 1993 - Martin O'Neill has his say
After the disappointment of losing their unbeaten away record in Division Three, Wanderers got back to winning ways with 2-0 victory over Carlisle United at Adams Park on Saturday 18th December 1993. Supporters Player of the Month for November, Terry Evans, opened the scoring for Wycombe on 14 minutes when he headed home a Steve Guppy free-kick from the right. The lead was doubled six minutes later when Tony Hemmings managed to lay the ball back from the right bye-line to Dave Carroll who crossed for Keith Ryan to tuck in at the far post. Paul Hyde was in top form to prevent the visitors getting back into the game as Wanderers earned a comfortable victory to remain in 5th place in the table with 34 points from 19 games.
The result would have pleased Wanderers fans but more importantly Martin O'Neill who had been upset by reports of some so called Wycombe fans during the defeat at Chester the previous weekend. He wrote in his programme notes, "I would like to reflect, as we approach the final game before a hectic Christmas and New Year programme, upon the brilliant efforts from the players - so far this season the vast majority of whom had never kicked a ball in the Football League before August. In four short months we have lost three League game from 18 stats, we have won all our Autoglass and F.A.Cup games (both at home and away) against teams from a Division higher than ourselves, managed to beat Leyton Orient twice in the Coca-Cola Cup before beating Coventry City of the Premier League in an epic encounter at Adams Park. Why mention all this you may ask? Perhaps because on Monday morning Rena, who runs the coaches to away matches, told me she had to move away from her seat at Chester on Saturday because she could no longer stand the verbal abuse being dished out to the players for their putrid efforts on the field by quite a contingent of our own fans. Maybe being the last team in the country to lose an unbeaten away record was too much for some of us to take. Maybe we were entitled to get a bit of stick for missing some glorious chances at one end and for some shoddy defensive work at the other end of the field. Maybe we are not as "professional" as we would like to think we are. Maybe, when all is said and done, we are not good enough. But don't ever accuse us Of not putting our lot in. That criticism I just cannot and will not take."
O'Neill went on to add in another epic piece, "Superhuman effort is very much part of the make-up of players at this club. If it isn't, they usually find themselves out the door anyway!! Please don't get me wrong. If valid criticisms are necessary and reasonably constructive - then by all means let me know. I won't promise to act on every piece of advice I get but I will listen sometimes. Although maybe you should just leave me to my own Irish mentality until I get it hopelessly wrong, otherwise I might have flipped completely not so long ago and kept Mickey Nuttell (now playing with Rushden in the Beazer Homes League) in the side instead of Keith Scott!!!"
O'Neill concluded his seasonal notes by saying, "Finally though - Happy Christmas! I'm cheering up already myself. I just hope that Rena's "friends" remember not only our League position in our first season in the League but that we're still in the Autoglass Trophy with a trip to AAAAAGH AAAAAGH in January and I almost forgot - for only the third time in our hundred and nine year history we have an F.A. Cup third Round match to look forward to against lowly old Norwich of the Premier League. It's been a terrible season, not beating Chester .............is that you moaning again up there God?"
Wanderers holiday programme began with a visit to Torquay United on Monday 27th December 1993. It proved to be a dour encounter where Wanderers were grateful to grab a point from a 1-1 draw. An amazing 850 Wycombe fans made the trip to Plainmoor and they saw Paul Hyde in top form again although he could do nothing to prevent Paul Trollope opening the scoring on 28 minutes when he shot home at the near post after Wanderers had failed to deal with a corner.
In a sometimes physical game, 'Hydey' got the better of Torquay striker Adrian Foster when he almost drop kicked the opponent down the pitch after Foster dared close down a Hyde clearance. Foster was later booked by referee Roger Milford for a ridiculous challenge on the Wycombe 'keeper.
Wanderers grim day continued on the hour mark when Matt Crossley was injured after a falling awkwardly following a challenge with Darren Moore. Crossley was stretched off with suspected knee damage. However, with some Wycombe fans already departed, Wanderers snatched a draw with their only shot on target of the game. It came following a Carroll free-kick from the left which Evans connected with at the far post to head past the 'keeper and in off the post.
Wanderers were due to play Rochdale the following day at Adams Park but that game fell foul to the weather. A waterlogged pitch was caused by a thaw following a three day long freeze in the High Wycombe area. Wanderers came in for criticism for the decision but it was match referee Arthur Smith who called the game off two hours prior to the 3pm kick-off. One lady Rochdale supporter even vented her anger at Martin O'Neill himself. The comments wouldn't be forgotten!
Meanwhile, O'Neill continued his chase for additions to his squad, commenting to the press "We need some new players here at the Club, there's no doubt about that, but the right people are not necessarily available at the moment. I have got some people in mind though." Looking back on that period, O'Neill also commented on the end of season video "Our style of football had changed a bit in the sense that we were now inviting teams to come at us a little bit and then try and hit the teams on the break...simply because of the players we had available. It was working to a large extent. It wouldn't last the whole season and I knew that myself and I think the players did. When we started to lose a game or two, then we knew that things may be difficult for us"
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